Diabetes, Hypertension in Africa

Steven B. Harris sbharris at ix.netcom.com
Sun Sep 10 20:20:02 EST 1995

In <42vr39$qf8$1 at mhafn.production.compuserve.com> Daniel Ricks
<76130.3726 at CompuServe.COM> writes: 
>I am looking into doing some research in chronic diseases in Africa.
>These diseases include Diabetes, Asthma, and Hypertension. I am 
>interested in the types of complications that occur, best methods of
>management, and special problems of dealing with these issues in an 
>underdeveloped impoverished setting in Africa.
>I would be interested in any thoughts of others on things to look 
>and watch out for, on what has been done previously, and on what 
>hope there is for the future in these areas. 

   You'll find that diabetes is mostly type II, and both it and
hypertension are almost entirely due to weight gain, itself almost
entirely due to a higher fat, higher calorie diet, without enough fruit
and vegetables.  It's NOT a result of "impoverishment" per se, since
healthier diets are in general actually cheaper.  It's a result of poor
education and food choices-- a result of eating shortening and lard; a
result of Westernization of diet.  You might do some reading of George
Reaven's articles on "Syndrome X" over the last 10 years.  He's at

   When you find skinny people eating the traditional diet in tropical
Africa, but still sick, suspect HIV infection.  They won't have
diabetes or hypertension, in general, of course. 

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